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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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01:31:00

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South Africa 25, Us 22, U.s. 14, Bill Clinton 12, United States 8, America 8, Benghazi 6, Cnn 6, Soweto 5, Washington 4, Dallas 4, Tennessee 4, George W. Bush 4, Obama 4, Terrence Howard 4, Jennifer 4, Miami 3, Johannesburg 3, Ho 3, Aflac 3,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    December 6, 2013
    2:00 - 3:31pm PST  

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happening now, south africa and the world prepare for the funeral of nelson mandela. we're there live with new information. plus, clinton honors mandela. the former president shares very personal stories about his friend and his hero. he says the south african leader's advice helped him get through one of his darkest hours. stand by for my one-on-one interview. plus, breaking news. a snow and ice emergency. a deadly winter storm is causing havoc on the roads and in the skies across america. we're tracking the danger as the deep freeze moves east and a new storm develops out west. and a big jump in jobs. does president obama deserve credit for improving the u.s. economy after a surprisingly strong employment report? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." a ten-day mourning period is under way for one of the most influential leaders of our time. we're learning more about the
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final tributes to nelson mandela. stand by for that, and for my special conversation with the former president, bill clinton. he reveals a time when he and the south african president didn't see eye-to-eye but first, the breaking news we're following. a brutal winter storm turns deadly. at least four people have been killed on icy roads in the southern u.s. we're seeing a dangerous mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and bone-chilling cold, and it's creating hazardous conditions from texas to tennessee and beyond. now a one-two punch of weather misery is on the way, affecting both coasts from now through monday. we have team coverage beginning with our meteorologist jennifer gray at the cnn weather center. jennifer, what's going on? >> well, we are getting that one-two punch. we have this one system that's continuing to push to the east and then we have another system right on its heels. the good news is we are seeing that freezing rain, sleet moving out of places like little rock, memphis, dallas. it is pushing up to the north
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and east but if you can see that little line of freezing rain and sleet, that is continuing to get narrower so that means we are seeing improving conditions as far as that goes across the ohio valley, still seeing a lot of snow, though and also rain to its south. this is going to push into the northeast during the overnight tonight, losing a little bit of its punch but it still will carry very cold temperatures. new york getting rain as well as boston in the next couple of hours. we still have those watches and warnings all across portions of the country, moving into the east and this is just the first wave. we have very cold temperatures across the north, 12 degrees below zero in great falls, 3 below in bismarck. as this system moves out for tonight, we'll have a little bit of a break on saturday, but then the next system already on its heels and this is going to cause possibly freezing rain and snow for places like d.c. because of that, we already have an advisory in place for sunday.
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washington could pick up anywhere from one to two inches of snow as well as some freezing rain in the coming days. wolf? >> we'll try to get ready for that. jennifer, thanks very much. let's go to tennessee. a weather state of emergency is ineffe, the city of memphis ready for the worst. cnn's ted rowlands is on the scene for us. how is it going over there? >> reporter: it's pretty miserable here. the sleet slash ice slash rain has been falling for the last few hours in memphis. most people staying in, staying off the roads. arkansas, very bad all day long, worse than here in tennessee for the most part. we drove there during the day and i can tell you, it was pretty hairy on the roadways. people taking it very slow. we saw a lot of people spun out on the side of the road. there, too, we saw a lot of ice on power lines and on trees. one individual was killed in arkansas when a tree saddled with ice fell into his home. bottom line here, people are
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being told to stay in, stay off the roads. it is messy and expected to be messy throughout this evening. >> tough situation over there. ted, thanks. it's been colder in texas today than parts of alaska. the dallas marathon has now been canceled along with a holiday parade. let's go to dallas. ed lavandera is on the scene and is ready to update us. how's it going over there? >> reporter: at least the good news is that freezing rain and sleet has stopped and let up. a little more than 24 hours ago, this was a glorious scene in this park in downtown dallas, where it was 80 degrees, but that has changed dramatically as a blanket of ice has really covered the entire region, causing all sorts of problems. roadways are a mess. i understand interstate 35, the bridge between texas and oklahoma has been shut down, causing a two and a half mile backup on the texas side. so that is something we're monitoring closely as well.
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but schools and businesses throughout the region have been canceled for the day, and as you mentioned, the marathon which was supposed to have been run on sunday has been canceled for the first time in its history, and the big holiday parade was supposed to take place saturday, tomorrow. that has also been canceled for the first time in its history. so a treacherous weekend here and really, people are kind of bracing for a long weekend, because as temperatures will not get above freezing for some time, that will make it very difficult for the ice, if not impossible for the ice to melt away and make the roadways a lot safer. i spent a lot of time on the roads today. it was slushy but with those freezing temperatures getting worse tonight, that could ice up as well and cause more problems for drivers later on today and into tomorrow. wolf? >> everybody's got to be really, really careful in the coming days. ed, thanks very much. up next, the former president bill clinton shares one of the most unforgettable things nelson mandela ever said to him. stand by for my interview with the former president. plus, we're learning about some of president obama's special guests who will travel
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with him to south africa to honor nelson mandela. we will tell you who that is and more in just a moment. waffle bars... fancy robes... seems every hotel has something to love... so join the loyalty program that lets you earn free nights in any of them. plus, for a limited time, members can win a free night every day. only at hotels.com and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing. so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what?
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cnn has learned the former president george w. bush and the former first lady laura bush will accompany president obama on air force one to attend nelson mandela's memorial services next week. bill clinton tells me he and his family also will be attending. george h.w. bush will not be making the trip due to his age and the long, long distance. our correspondents in south africa are also learning more about the upcoming historic events. cnn's robyn curnow is joining us
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from johannesburg and erin burnett is joining us from mandela's home in the town of soweto. it is early morning now, crowds have been out nonstop celebrating the life of nelson mandela. what's going on, how long do we expect this to last? >> reporter: well, it's almost 24 hours since this nation heard that nelson mandela had passed away. we are standing right outside the house where he died late thursday. people have been coming to this suburban street since then. you can hear them now singing behind me, and they have been chanting, praying, lamenting, celebrating in song throughout the day and they have been singing some very poignant songs. one particular over and over again, mandela, mandela, you are ours. i said to somebody what do you mean. they said it's a song we always used to sing where we claim mandela and there is a sense of
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this nation still claiming him. he's gone but there's a deep, deep sense that he belongs to everyone around us so this will continue for the next ten days until he's buried but i think deep in their hearts, this kind of praise, this kind of longing for that man will never go away. >> certainly won't. what can you tell us about the country's plans in the coming days to memorialize nelson mandela? >> reporter: well, it's a ten-day schedule, essentially, starting from today. the main funeral and burial is next sunday in ten days' time. there might be some confusion because there are actually two main events. there is a memorial service here in johannesburg at a big soccer stadium and a big football stadium where the world cup football was held, so it's a big modern piece of architecture, an open celebration. we think that's where president obama and president bush will be
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going. i know that from a security point of view and also just from a logistical point of view, a lot of the heads of state might try to go to that event which will be held here in johannesburg. it's easier to get in and out of. the main stage funeral will be held in this very rural remote area in mandela's ancestral village. i have been there, it is difficult for us as a reporting team often to go there when there's nothing going on. it's barely accessible by one road. i think the fact that thousands of dignitaries, including dozens of heads of state are going to be flying into this very secluded area to celebrate his life literally under a large tent in the hills of rural south africa, from a logistical and security point of view, potentially a nightmare but also, what a fitting tribute to a man who started off as a young barefoot herds boy and went on to lead a nation and of course,
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it's that sense of full circle, he wanted to be buried in those hills so his family said well, then, this is where we are going to have the funeral. so very unusual. we are going to see one of the largest state funerals of our time in one of the most rural areas of south africa. >> it's going to be an amazing event over these next several days. thanks very much. let's go to soweto. tell us about the mood on the ground there. >> reporter: well, wolf, if mandela's home represents where the president and icon lived, soweto represents where mandela the average man lived. just behind me, behind the cheering and singing crowds is where nelson mandela lived in the 1940s and '50s during the apartheid era. soweto was southwestern township where black south africans were forced to live typically in poor conditions. nelson mandela even though he had a law degree and was quite
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privileged with his family background, chose to live here side by side, shoulder to shoulder with other black south africans who were also struggling through the ills of apartheid. behind me, you are hearing some of the similar statements robyn is hearing, songs from the struggle, songs in honor of nelson mandela. in a way, what people are doing here is thanking madiba for helping elevate many poor black south africans into the middle class by ushering in democracy and becoming the country's first democratically elected president. on this street today, you will find restaurants and bars and middle class south africans spending their disposable income in a place where it wouldn't have been possible decades ago. and indeed, this will also be the location of the first official memorial service for nelson mandela on tuesday at the stadium which is also significant because it was the last location he made an
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appearance in public during the closing ceremonies for the world cup. so as is true in many other locations in the country, these celebrations will continue. it's just day one of ten days of a country thanking one man for bringing transformative change to millions. >> it's after midnight already there and there are still a lot of folks. are the crowds getting bigger or smaller, and what about security? >> reporter: these crowds are growing as people come and go. there are crowds going up and down the street, as you can hear behind me, singing. but as far as security, the atmosphere is jovial. this morning, i was in zimbabwe on assignment for cnn and i broke the news to people there about the passing of nelson mandela and they were visibly saddened. one thing we have to keep in mind is for south africans and africans all over the continent, he represents an elevation of their standard. many say that nelson mandela brought dignity and pride to the
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plight of black africans at the hands of colonialists. so his ability to bring people together and to make them feel good and confident and hopeful about themselves is something that really goes beyond south africa's borders and is seen all over the continent. i have been in 21 african countries in the past two years for cnn, and i can tell you whether it's west africa, north africa, east or south, there is not any other person more revered and loved than nelson mandela. so people are showing their respect here. it is getting a bit rowdy as we approach midnight on a friday night, as we pass that now, but south africans are truly here to say thanks and they will continue to do so over the next nine days. >> they certainly will. stand by. robyn, i know you're still with us. what about security elsewhere, johannesburg, where all these world leaders you point out are coming. this is going to be a massive security headache potentially for south african authorities. >> reporter: well, i suppose it
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depends who you ask. first and foremost, this entire arrangement, nelson mandela's funeral, all of his health leading up to his death yesterday, has been managed by the military so this is essentially a military exercise and we are going to be seeing that specifically at that state funeral next saturday. we know there's going to be some sort of military seclusion zone, there will be a no-fly zone over the area. i think there's going to be a lot of questions asked in how all these heads of state are going to be flown in and then out of this small airport and of course, keeping them safe on the ground. i think all these different security teams are going to have to coordinate with each other and the south africans and i think there's going to be a lot of discussion behind the scenes on how this is going to work. whether or not barack obama, the u.s. president, goes because of course, his security detail is the biggest of them all.
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but it doesn't matter, even on the day five memorial service in johannesburg and soweto which we expect president obama to go to, and other heads of state, that also potentially could be a logistical problem because under south african tradition, nobody can be invited to a funeral. everybody is welcome. so you are going to be seeing no tickets issued for the standing or seats in the stadium. anybody can arrive to come and pay their tribute to mandela at both the memorial and the funeral. so there is going to be i think the biggest challenge is going to be the sheer number of people who are going to be flocking to try and either be close to his casket, to his body, or who just want to be part of the proceedings. of course, they are not going to be just jostling for space with fellow south africans but also with the rest of the world. >> they certainly will be. thanks to both of you for your report. coming up, bill clinton,
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nelson mandela and cuban rum. the former president shares some funny and moving stories about the man he calls a loyal friend. and the actor terrence howard played nelson mandela on film. he will join us with his unique take on mandela's evolution, from revolutionary to prisoner. to president.
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we're hearing many world leaders remember nelson mandela with great fondness and great respect, but few knew him as well as bill clinton. joining us now, the former president of the united states, bill clinton. mr. president, thanks very much for sharing some thoughts on this special day. >> i'm glad to do it, wolf. >> what was it like the first time you met nelson mandela? >> well, i was excited. i felt almost like i was 20 years old again. it was at the democratic convention in new york. i was about to be nominated for president and former mayor david
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dinkins, a long-time supporter of mandela's, brought him up to our room where he met with hillary, chelsea and me. we hit it off right away. he was there really because he was an incredibly loyal person to anyone who supported him and the anc during his long imprisonment and democrats had supported sanctions on south africa so he wanted to be there, he wanted to be at our convention. he later came to the inauguration. and then hillary and vice president gore led a delegation to his inauguration in '94 and just five months later, he came to the united states on a state visit. that's when we really started becoming friends and i had the honor of working with him throughout the entire span of his presidency and one of the things that sometimes gets lost in the incredible personal impact he made on the world because of the way he handled imprisonment is that he was a
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very, very good president. i think he was an extremely effective president of south africa. >> i remember when you and hillary clinton and the first lady toured that robben island cell where he had spent so many years back in 1998. what was that like? >> well, it was amazing. he talked to me about it and i'll never forget, one of the most enduring conversations i had with him over the many we had in our 20 year friendship was i said you know, i know how you came out of prison but how did you get there, how did you come out a bigger man than you went in? didn't you feel full of rage when they sent you to prison. he said yes, he said i was young and strong and i had been a boxer and he said i lived on my hatred for 11 years and i remember it very clearly, he
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said i was breaking rocks about 11 years into my prison term and i realized they had already taken so much from me, i had been physically and mentally abused, i had been deprived of seeing my children grow up. it ultimately destroyed my marriage. he said i realized they could take every single thing away from me except my mind and my heart. those things, i would have to give them. and i decided not to give them away. and he looked at me and smiled, he said neither should you. i will never forget it as long as i live. >> an amazing man indeed. rick stengel, the former managing editor of "time" magazine told me that the two of you seemed to have almost a father/son relationship, that he would give you spiritual counseling, advice. is that accurate? >> in a way. he certainly gave me -- he gave me a lot of help. you know, he, when congress gave him the gold medal when they were trying to run me out of office, he called me one day and
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said now, he said, i'm the president of south africa, i must accept this award, but i am not a fool and i know what the timing is so he said here's what we're going to do. i'm coming a day early and you're going to organize an event for me in the white house and i will say exactly what i think. and he proceeded to do it. he was that kind of guy. we had a genuine friendship. i mean, he thought it was wrong and he thought it was bad for america, bad for the world, and he came here and said it. and he managed to be an inclusive figure while never giving up his right to take a stand, including in some of the relatively few disagreements we had. >> you did have a few disagreements. i remember when i met with him the day after your tour of robben island, he referred to cuba, for example, he had a very good relationship with fidel castro. that would come up in your conversations with him from time to time. >> oh, absolutely.
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sometimes he would be very serious and say i just don't understand why you don't lift the embargo, and i said well, i think we were about to do it before they shot down those planes illegally and the brothers to the rescue tragedy, and then congress removed from the president the right to lift the embargo. sometimes he was just joking about it but underneath all that, there was mandela's fierce loyalty to anybody who had stuck by him personally and by the anc, the african national congress, his party, during his long 27 years imprisonment, and castro did. mandela never forgot it. you know, i used to go there as you know every year around his birthday. i have been to south africa nine or ten times since i left office. and most of the trips were around his birthday. once i was there with an american delegation and we wanted to support his foundation
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and while i was there, they were having a dinner and an auction, and cyril ramaposa was there and several others of my friends. i believe cyril said the next item you have to bid on, not the americans, you personally. so it was a very expensive old bottle of cuban rum that castro had sent him for an auction item in a beautiful box. i bid on it, won the bid and then i realized i couldn't bring it home to america because of the embargo, so i had to give it away before i left the country. but i saw mandela the next day again and he said did you really buy the cuban rum? he said castro will love that. it was very funny. but he was very serious. castro stuck with him and he stuck with castro. >> still ahead, much more of my interview with the former president, bill clinton. i will talk to him about some of the dark days of impeachment and
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ask him how nelson mandela's advice helped him get through some of those dark days. the former president, very candid on this score. also, before mandela was widely beloved around the world, he was also branded by some as an actual terrorist. we are going to talk about his politics and how he should be remembered. the actor terrence howard is standing by to join us. he got into mandela's head when he played him in the movies. >> this system is getting stronger by the day. they've got guns. clerk stumbled upon a cottage. [knock] no one was at home, but on the kitchen table sat three insurance policies. the first had lots of coverage. the second, only a little. but the third was... just right! bear: hi! yeah, we love visitors. that's why we moved to a secluded house in the middle of the wilderness. just the right coverage at just the right price.
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♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ nelson mandela's widely viewed as an icon and a hero who fought his oppressors, then forgave them. some are remembering the early days of his battle against apartheid when he was branded as a terrorist. let's talk about his politics, his legacy with three guests who
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have unique perspectives. joining us, the actor terrence howard. he's on the phone. we will talk to him in a moment. he played mandela in a movie about his former wife, winnie. also, peter bynard is joining us from the daily beast. his parents were immigrants to the united states from south africa. also with us, cnn political commentator, the republican strategist, ana navarro. peter, i will start with you. you wrote a very compelling article. i will put a line up on the screen because i want you to explain to our viewers what you meant. as with dr. martin luther king, it is this subversive aspect of mandela's legacy that is most in danger of being erased as he enters america's pantheon of sanitized moral icons but it is precisely the aspect that americans most badly need. tell us what's being left out of mandela's story today. >> for most of his life as an activist against apartheid, the
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united states government was supportive of south africa's apartheid regime because they were our allies in the cold war. we have been taught since the cold war by politicians that have said it again and again that the cold war was simply a struggle for freedom in which we were on the side of the angels and the soviet union was on the side ofevil. the soviet union was an evil regime but there is another story of the cold war, a story that mandela's life shows, that americans don't like to talk about that much. those are all the moments during the cold war where, in the name of anti-communism, we supported brutally oppressive regimes and stood against freedom fighters like mandela. >> ana, you lived in miami. you have a unique perspective because you remember when nelson mandela was freed from robben island and came to miami. what happened? >> i was 18 years old. i was a senior in high school and it was a big, big deal in miami that he was coming. it was 1990 just a few months afterwards. but about a week before he was scheduled to come, he did an interview where he declared his
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friendship as bill clinton just said, his absolute loyalty to those who stood with him and fidel castro, gadhafi had stood with him so he declared his friendship with castro and as you can imagine, that was a very difficult thing for cuban americans and it ended up there being protests. it then turned into a boycott by the african-american community because they felt mandela had been snubbed and it opened up economic opportunities at the end after a settlement with the african-american community. >> you remember that vividly. terrence, you played nelson mandela in the film, "winnie mandela." this is an interview that nelson mandela gave to cnn back in the year 2000 talking about his so-called terrorist status. listen to this. >> i was called a terrorist yesterday but then i came out of there, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that
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is what i tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation are terrorists. i tell them i was also a terrorist yesterday but today i'm honored by the very people who say i was one. >> terrence, you had to play him on the big screen. you really had to get into his head. talk a little bit about what you learned about nelson mandela during that experience. >> well, one of the things that touched me most was his trial. during his trial, he actually gave three hours of testimony where he spoke about i now wish to turn to the question of guerilla warfare and why it was necessary in a foreign country to carry out those things. he spoke about thousands of atrocities that had taken place over 60, 70 years to where there
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was nothing left for the south africans to do but to defend themselves by whatever means they had, even though it was against his nature. it broke my heart to see such a gentle man have to turn to what we consider barbaric acts but when you're defending your family, your family are just being killed without any conscience, and when the united states turns its back, when reagan turned his back, when everyone turns their back, someone has to stand up and now we see the purpose of it has come to fruition because we can all live within some of the things that nelson mandela was able to accomplish by his sacrifice. >> we learned a great deal. peter, your parents came from south africa. they emigrated to the united states. what were the stories they told you as a boy growing up about nelson mandela? >> mandela was a figure that,
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you know, it was illegal to show his face in south africa, so everyone was always talking about him and yet, no one -- he was locked off from the world. for my parents, he was -- who had themselves been involved in the anti-apartheid movement, he was an incredible hero and figure and my life was very shaped by that but i also remember throughout my childhood and my early life, not only in south africa when we went there but in the united states all the time, people calling him a terrorist and a communist, all the time. some of the same people who are now celebrating him. i think it's really important for us to remember that about mandela, that what made it now safe to support him but at one time it was not. mandela was challenged, he made people uncomfortable. during the iraq war, he challenged george w. bush very aggressively and said that america was responsible for terrible human rights abuses and it's that challenging aspect of mandela that i think we need to remember as well. >> george w. bush and laura bush
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will be going to his funeral, memorial service, this coming week. ana, final thought? >> you know, i think the point about mandela, the extraordinary point is his evolution. even though he had these friends like fidel castro, like moammar gadhafi, he was the antithesis of what these folks stood for. he served for only one term because he stood for democracy, for human rights, and he understood that that was part of what he needed to do to reconcile his country. >> thanks very much. peter, thanks to you and terrence howard, thanks as well. just ahead, a better than expected jobs report shows the unemployment rate at its lowest level in five years. will president obama finally get some credit out of this? we've got the details of this terrifying landing all captured on camera. stand by. you're going to see this plane go up and down and up. stand by. life with crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
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and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing. so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what?
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after four days of losses, all three major u.s. stock indices closed up today on news of a better than expected november jobs report. the u.s. added 203,000 jobs in november, that's about 20,000 more than had been expected and the unemployment fell to 7% from 7.3%. that's the lowest level in five years. our senior white house correspondent jim acosta is joining us now. jim, it looks like the job market may, i repeat may finally be hitting some sort of stride. >> that's right, wolf. there's no shortage of new data showing the economy is strengthening but the white house is being careful about taking too much credit for that trend, because too many americans are not feeling it. it's more proof the u.s. economy is heating up. according to the latest jobs report, 203,000 people found work in november, and the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 7%, the lowest level in five years. add to that the fact that the
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economy grew at a rate of 3.6% in the third quarter, faster than initially thought, and it's no wonder the white house wants more. >> no one who works on these issues in the administration is satisfied. >> reporter: but analysts warn this warming trend is leaving too many americans out in the cold. >> if you're wealthy, you're feeling it but if you're in the middle or on the lower end of the economic spectrum, you really aren't. >> reporter: just look at the numbers. while the economy has recovered millions of lost jobs since the great recession, nearly six in ten americans say things are still going badly in the country. that's because in this recovery, there are two americas. wall street is booming, ending the week on a strong note. even as fast food workers were marching in the streets for higher wages. >> i think that it's bad, i think i deserve more. >> reporter: president obama acknowledged this week fixing that disparity is a top priority. >> i believe this is the defining challenge of our time. >> reporter: but republicans argue the president should look
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in the mirror. >> under president obama, our country has fallen into what i'll call a new normal. slow economic growth, high unemployment, stagnant wages. >> people on the streets right now are protesting because they want a higher minimum wage. they are saying they're not feeling it. >> the fact is the president has long supported policies and continues to support policies and has taken action on policies that go right at this issue. that work is not done. >> reporter: and there was one small glimmer of hope for bipartisanship on the economy. president obama called for an extension of the unemployment benefits by the end of the year and after hearing that house speaker john boehner said he will take a look at it. the way things have been going here in washington lately, wolf, that almost qualifies as a holiday miracle. >> that's a good point as well. jim acosta, thanks very much. gloria borger is here. she's our chief political analyst. why isn't the white house, gloria, making more of these positive numbers? >> you know, as jim is pointing out, look, the white house understands that these things can seesaw and they also understand that the public
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doesn't really feel this as much as they would like, and look, the president's chief economic advisor today made the point very clearly that there are just as many long-term unemployed as there ever were so while the unemployment rate is you still have the problem of the unemployed. also the gro domestic product, great, 3.6%, they understand it will dip in the next quarter, you know what? because of the shutdown. you had 850,000 federal workers furloughed. that will show up in the next numbers. one more thing -- never underestimate the ability of washington to mess things up. if there's not a budget deal and potentially, and i don't think this is going to happen, another government shutdown, you can see these numbers tank all over again. so they have to be really careful. >> extending these long-term unemployment benefits, how does that fit into this huge debate? that's part of the debate on capitol hill. >> that's another reason why the
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administration isn't crowing. if they say things are great, unemployment is down, at the same time they're asking for an extension of unemployment benefits while talking about the long-term unemployed. i think politically, wolf, of course, this is an easy argument for the democrats to make. as jim was mentioning, let's look at these numbers, when you ask people whether things are going badly in the country today economically, look, almost 6 in 10 believe things are going badly. so the public is not really feeling any kind of a recovery. they're not rejoicing at economic numbers they don't feel. so the administration can make the case for extending unemployment benefits and republicans may have a bit of a different time opposing it. the question -- how do you pay for it? >> the numbers are good, but don't want to declare a victory yet. >> yes. a terrifying landing captured on video. why the plane can barely touch
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down before shooting back into the air. is the -- the drawing for the next summer world cup in brazil is now out. certainly won't be easy. rachel nichols is standing by to joins us live. the former president bill clinton tells me more stories of his extremely close relationship with nelson mandela. he recalls one piece of advice that mandela offered him and helped him tremendously. more of my interview with bill clinton. that's coming up.
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[ male announcer ] when you're sick or hurt, aflac pays you cash. ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. now to some other stories in "the situation room." take a look at this. this is a wild piece of video, a plane attempting to land in britain. it was so windy, the plane was pushed back into the air after briefly touching down. it had to land at another airport and came back once the winds died down. the united kingdom has been hit by some of the most powerful storms in of 0 years. fortunately everyone is okay.
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the draw is now out for next summer's soccer world cup. as expected, the u.s. will play very tough teams. the u.s. is in group d, which including germany, portugal, and ghana. germany asp portugal are ranked in the top five. they'll play ghana, who knocked the americans out of the tournament in 2010. is the u.s. in the so-called group of death. joining us is rachel nichols. she's the host of "at 10:00. we were up, we were doing well in the first half, not so well in the second half. do we have a chance in this group d, rachel? >> well, i don't think you need to be a soccer expert to know that the group of death is not good. they call every year in the world cup, there is some group that's dubbed the group of death. it's the hardest group.
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it's the group that the u.s. has landed in after the draw. as you point out severs those teams are top favorites to possibly win the world cup. ghana has eliminated the u.s. the last two times, so it is definitely a difficult group. it's also a group that's going to play in a very spread-out matches. they'll log 9,000 miles by the time they get through the opening round, so a challenge physically as well. but there are some soccer aficionados around the country saying, hey, you have to look at this as a good thing. sometimes you need a strong challenge to shake u.s. soccer up to the next level. that's what happened in the past. the americans haven't played so well when they've been favored. they have played better when they're the gritty underdogs, which certainly is what they'll be here, and if it's a bit more physical challenge, that could worked to their advantage. still an uphill battle. kobe bryant you have a big interview with him that will air
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tonight. what's going on with kobe? >> kobe has been out for eight months. he had that achilles injury that knocked him out during the playoffs last april. he has said that he is going to return, finally come back to the nba this weekend on sunday. first, of course, you know he had to stop and talk to cnn for "unguarded" tonight. so we'll have him on the show. he talked about what it was like having that injury. he had some very dark moments. he really did seriously consider retiring, the idea of working his way all the way back after 17 years in the league, it was dawnsing for him, but that he pushed through it. he talked to me about his new contract. he got an extension that's somewhat controversial, $48 million for two additional years, making him the highest paid player in the nba when he is 37, 38 years old. there's a lot of people critical of that, saying not a great deal for the lakers, and how much cap room will he take up? he walk talking about, hey, the
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owners created the salary cap. so he was pretty vocal criticizing the system there, too. a lot of interesting stuff from kobe. you'll see it tonight. >> we certainly will. rachel, thanks very much. to our viewers, you can watch the interview a whole lot more tonight on "unguarded" with rachel nichols. 10:30 p.m. right here. happening now, bill clinton remembers nelson mandela and the advice he gave that helped the former president get through one of the lowest points of his presidency. fateful mission, a man travels to teach, only to be gunned down in benghazi. new information about whether it was a revenge killing. white house reversal. officials come clean about president obama an his illegal immigrant uncle after denying they ever met. now a different story is
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emerging. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." just over 24 hours since the world first learned of nelson mandela's death in in south africa, emotions have been pouring out around the clock. this was the scene tonight, and it continues, even though it's now past 1:00 a.m. it's a similar scene in the township of so wetto where mandela lived until he was locked away for almost three decades. cnn's errol burnett is there for us. what is the mood right now? >> reporter: well, wolf, just take a look behind me and listen. the mood here continuing to be a jovial one as it has been all day, as south african comes to the former home of nelson mandela, where he lived during apartheid.
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and they're now singing songs of thanks and appreciation. this has been happening all day, this day one of south africa ace ten days of mourning for the passing of the late president. so wetto where i am now, will play a significant role in a few days, just a short distance from where i am, is the stadium, the first formal event, 95,000 seats. this was the location of nelson mandela's last public appian during the world cup in 2010. on tuesday it will be a place where regular south africans can show up and pay their final respects to the late president. so at the moment, it's past 1:00 a.m., the crowds are thinning out. police are moving through, but earlier we saw hundreds of people singing and celebrating what nelson mandela was able to do. back to you. >> errol, thank you. look at this, new york city the empire state building showing the colors of the flag
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of south africa in memory of nelson mandela. what a beautiful sight that is. the former president, george w. bush and his wife laura, have accepted an invitation to accompany president obama to south africa. the spokesman for the first president bush says he will not be able attend because of his distance and his age. bill clinton and his family will be going to south africa. i talk to president clinton today about his immense administration. i want you to listen to what he said about you the day after that tour of robben island back in 1998. >> the president is one of the most decent men i have come across, and he has got a thick skin, strong nerves. he is not the type of person who squeals, and hi knows that i hold him in the highest regards,
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because even before he was president, he was very generous in assisting us to ensure we were victorious. >> he said in that interview with me, you're not a person who squeals. when you hear that now from him, what goes through your mind? >> that he helped me to be that kind of man, that he inspired me before i knew him, and that after we became friends, every minute we spent together, even when we were having the occasional argument from our positions as president of the united states and president of south africa, where he always held his ground and did what he thought was right, we never stopped being friends. he never stopped being friends with hillary and with my daughter, which meant a lot to me. he always took a lot of interest in her, because she just idolized him. she thought he was unbelievable.
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from the time when she was almost ten years old and he walked out of the prison and i got her up early to watch it. he held an amazing place in her imagination and heart. he still does today. >> as a student, whether at georgetown university or oxford or yale, were you involved in the struggle to get rid of apartheid? i ask the question, because you're from arc saw, you're a southerner, and those days, there was a difference of opinion as far as south africa and apartheid was concerned. >> well, when he first -- keep in mind, most of those years you talked about were in the 1960s. it was very early, and he-hand then become the heroic figure that he later became, and the sanctions movement hadn't picked up a lot the steam. but i certainly knew who he was. i remember thinking about him
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more when robert kennedy took his famous trip to south africa and gave that amazing speech against apartheid. so i always followed him and always thought the sanctions were a good idea. i thought we needed to be on the side of saying, you know, this is not right, this cannot stand, we couldn't advance civil rights at home and go through all that we went through, including the martyrdom of martin luther king, who clearly, like gandhi, like mandela, was inspired by gandhi, and not stick up for south africa. >> and you did indeed. he was grateful to you for that. was there one piece of advice that he gave you that really sticks out in your mind? >> yes. when he told me -- he basically was saying, you know if you're in public life and you have public responsibilities, you cannot be free and effective unless you have no personal
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feelings of anger. he said, you know, you have to -- you have to never give up your mind and heart. it requires a mental and emotional discipline to live in the present and the future, and keep an open door and open mind and an open heart to everyone. i remember one day, oh, about a month after the whole impeachment business was over, henry hyde, who had run the whole show, unbelievably enough, maybe a few months after, it was shortly after, asked for a meeting at the white house, for something that he was interested in. he brought a delegation in. my staff said i can't believe you're going to do this. i said, it's my job, he's a senior member of congress. they came and left. as far as they knew, i did not even remember what had happened. i was able to do that, because of what nelson mandela did for
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me, the way he helped me. i think that it's advice that everybody should take. you simply cannot be free wow forgiveness, you don't have to forget, but you have to forget when you're doing something that has nothing to do with how you feel alone. mandela never completely got over his regrets of what he missed and his occasional emotional intrusions of anger, but you could see it. people who knew him well could see it. something would come into his eyes, and almost instantaneously it would disappear, because he had trained himself to live in the present, look to the future. he knew he couldn't be a free man if he was burdened with anger. and so he let it go. he said -- i asked him how he felt when he was taking that last walk that we all saw on television in february of 1990.
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i said, didn't you hate them all over again? he said briefly, i felt hatred anger and fear. i hadn't been free for a long time. but when i got to the gate, i said i want to be free, and i knew if i still hated them when i drove out the door, i would still be their prisoner. i wanted to be free. so i let it go. it was amazing the clarity, the strength and the genuine honesty with which he said it. it's what enabled him to light up the world with that smile of his. they saw a truly freeman. not just somebody who was legally free, not just somebody who won an election, but a full human being in full possession of his spirit, his joy in life in the moment. i was thinking about it, you know, arguably the great symbols of freedom in the world in the 20th century are gandhi and dr.
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king and nelson mandela, certainly in the last 80 years or so. they were martyred. he became a hero, because he survived and he thrived, and he served. he did it because he was free, and because people felt that -- this is a tribute to the rest of south africa. he was able to engender a level of trust in people, because he trusted them, and it worked out for him in a way that was all together fitting and just. he was an astonishing human being. >> it certainly was. it worked out for him and for south africa. he inspired so many around the world. we're out of time, mr. president. thanks so much for joining us. i assume you're going to be going to south africa in the coming day to pay your personal respects? >> i am. our whole family is going. you know, i typically, since i
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left the white house, especially when madiba and i were working on aids together, i always tried to time my summer trips to africa so i could be around his birthday. i wouldn't miss this. i i'm just going to be a face in the crowd. he was a genuine friend to me, and he was a really fine partner as president. so my whole family will be there, and we're looking forward to having the chance to say good-bye one last time. >> mr. president, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful words with all of our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we appreciate it greatly. >> thank you. we know, of course, nelson mandela inspired the world to make an impact. to find out more about his charitable legacy and how you can get involved, go to cnn.com/impact, and you will be
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able to impact our world. up next, new video of the american teacher killed in benghazi. new information about whether his death was al qaeda revenge. the white house changes its story about president obama and the illegal immigrant uncle. how close were they? stand by.
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we're learning new details about the american teacher
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gunned down in benghazi and whether it might have been a revenge attack for the capture of an al qaeda operative. barbara starr, what are you finding out? >> ronny smith wanted to be in benghazi, one of the most dangerous cities in the world for americans. the question now -- who killed him and why? 33-year-old ronny smith was teaching chemistry at an international school in benghazi, libya. >> snow matter what happens, i'm good. that gives me peace. i'm okay with that. >> reporter: libyan authorities say on this street, foyer assailants in a black jeep opened fire, killing him instantly. in a video of smith and his wife on their way to libya, he speaks openly of his christian faith. >> if there is any single person in the universe that you can take a chance on, it's god. >> reporter: smith knew benghazi had grown increase gill
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dangerous since the attack on the consulate 15 monthsal. the ambassador and three others were killed. in october it got more dangerous when operatives captured an al qaeda operative wanted in connection with the attacks on u.s. embassies in east africa. just after the attack, libyan islamists are threatening kidnapping. just before his killing, there was -- it was a call for revenge for al libi's capture. a similar threat came to just before the attack that killed chris stevens from al qaeda leaders amar al swirli. but no one zawahiri. so at this point, they don't believe so far that al qaeda
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directly ordered it, the libyan government says it's still investigating the attack. the white house appears to be changing the story about whether president obama met the uncle who lived in the united states illegally. >> this is about a relative of the president who's gone through legal problems, and it's about an impress that the white house has given that it's keeping the uncle at arm's lengths. the man in -- the boston globe previously cited the white house as saying the president and his uncle had never met, but the white house press secretary now says this -- >> the president said he in fact
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had met omar obama when he moved to cambridge for law school and stayed with him for a brief period of time until the president's apart was ready. >> reporter: in recent days, the understanding -- why the deferring accounts? >> back when this arose looked back at the books, and there was no indication that they had met. >> reporter: it could be simple semantics, but the white house was first asked about the relationship a couple years ago after the uncle had been arrested for drunk driving and it came to light he was fighting deportation. that's given ammunition to republican critics. >> it just goes back to this thing of the white house not being completely forthright with facts with the public. it's what's contributed to his trust worthyness numbers going way down. >> reporter: political observers say something else could be
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lingering. >> i think it does raise an interesting question whether or not the united states is comfortable with this idea that he has relatives that had trouble with dui or immigration problems or whatever else. >> reporter: a white house official pushed back on the idea that the president is not comfortable with those members of his family, pointing out he wrote about them extensively in his book "dreams of my father." >> indeed he did. deadly weather stretching, ice threatening to knock out power to millions of americans. not only is the storm on the move, there's another one right behind it. would el have the forecast. stay with us. people don't have to think about where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner and reliable, with fewer emissions--
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president obama just spoke about nelson mandela at the national christmas tree lighting ceremony near the light white
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house. >> this year we give a special measure of gratitude for nelson mandela, a man who championed that generosity of spirit you know, in his life he blessed us with tremendous grace and unbelievable courage, and we are all privileged to live in a world touched by his goodness. >> he'll be heading to south africa next week for the memorial service. meanwhile, other news, a dangerous mixture of snow and ice stretching from texas to tennessee and beyond. this powerful winter-like storm is blamed for at least four deaths, some 2 hundred,000 people are without power, and the city has canceled sunday's marathon for the first time. but the danger is far from over. we're seeing a glimpse of what millions will be facing over the weekend. our meteorologist jennifer grey is monitoring the storm from the cnn weather center. what do our viewers need to know, jennifer? >> they need to know it hand
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over yet. this is just the first wave. we're going to be more develop by the end of the weekend. still a snowy situation in cincinnati. this is pushing into the northeast, luckily that freeze line, though, is getting very skinny. so it's mainly either snow on rain, still seeing some icy spots, but nothing like we've been seeing over the past 24 hours. we still have a lot of watches and warnings in effect as far as the snow and the ice go across portion of the north, but very, very cold temperatures. we have temperatures well below freezing in portions of the north, as you head down to the south, a lot of places in the 20s and low 30s. so what's already on the ground is expected to stay there. it's not going to be melting any time soon. a lot of it will refreeze as well. this will continue to push out. we'll have a bit of a break on saturday, but then look what comes up by sunday. we're looking at more possible
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ice and snow across the east. this does including washington, d.c. already a winter storm watch in effect for sunday. could see anywhere from 1 to 2 inches of snow, including some freezing rain, so we'll be watching for this by the end of the weekend into the beginning part of next week >> one day it's hot and sunny in dallas, a couple days later it's frigidly cold. how extraordinary is this? >> well, not unusual this time of year. we do get these freeze scenarios every couple of years. it's just a strong front that decided to blast down to the south. every couple of years, you get these situations. >> jennifer grey, welcome to cnn. good to have you on our team. >> thank you. >> thanks very much to all of our viewers. i'm wolf blitzer here in "the situation room." "crossfire" starts right now. tonight on "crossfire" -- more than 200,000 new jobs. the lowest unemployment rate in five years. is it because of president
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obama's policies? or inspite of them? >> it doesn't work. let's try something different. on the left, jennifer granholm. on the right s.e. kipp. in the crossfire david madeline, who supports the president, and nancy for then aural, a republican political strategist. is the rover taking off? tonight on "crossfire." welcome to "crossfire" i'm serbs e.cupp on the right. >> and i'm jennifer granholm. today's news about jobs is too good to miss. the unemployment rate fell to the lowest point in five years. auto sales at the highest levels since 2007, a lot of people, especially in the midwest, they should be thanking.
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. for sarching the auto industry of the the economy is doing well despite the best efforts of republican obstructionists who worked hard to shut down the government, folks with the national deficit dropping at its fastest rate in 60 years? it is time to stop the obsession with deficits and start an obsession about middle-class job creation. >> well, governor granholm, i'm going to give the president credit for these numbers -- >> stop the presses -- >> but this nation is still woefully unemployed. he has to take credit for that, too. i know his numbers could not have come at a better time for an administration that's had a rough couple months. in the crossfire tonight, a pair of economic experts, david madlin director of the american worker project for the center of political progress. >> and david, let me start with you. even though this morning's jobs numbers sound rea